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A step in the right direction

In about two weeks, the legal age to purchase tobacco products in New Hampshire will go from 18 to 19.

While that jump isn’t what officials initially wanted, it’s progress.

Cities and towns around the country have been taking a fresh look at the issues, with many raising the legal age to 21. Some Granite State communities have made this move, including Dover, Keene and Newmarket. Massachusetts has raised the age to 21, as well.

This is a good thing, and a step in the right direction, especially with the increased use of vaping products by school-aged children.

Nearly 50% of Nashua high school students have reported at least trying a vape product. According to an academic health class survey that was conducted back in the spring, 22.5% of youth said they had vaped within 30 days. The survey was completed in 10th grade health class among students ages 14-17.

“If you go to any school across the state, they’re going to say that vaping is an issue. And if you even go across the country, vaping is an issue,” Nashua Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator Lisa Vasquez said.

In addition to raising the legal tobacco age to 19 across the state, Jan. 1 also will mark the date that vape shops will have to apply for licences from the New Hampshire Division of Enforcement and Licensing.

Again, a good thing.

While we agree that consenting adults should have the right to do as they please when it comes to legalized substances, dealing with youth and younger adults is a different matter. This is especially evident with vaping by high schoolers, especially considering there is no hard data on the impact vaping has on long-term health.

Nineteen may not be what officials wanted, but the issues certainly isn’t going to go away, which will give them an opportunity to get it right and advance the legal age to 21.